On December 14, 2017, the Hoover Institution Library & Archives hosted Bronisław Komorowski, Poland’s president from 2010 until 2015. Komorowski, a historian, was interested in learning more about Hoover’s world-famous Polish holdings, the largest and most-comprehensive documentation on modern Poland outside Poland.
Senior Curator Maciej Siekierski greeted the visitor and showed him a sampling of archival and library materials, as well as posters, selected from the Hoover holdings. Irena Czernichowska and Gerardina (Małgosia) Szudelski of the Hoover Library & Archives assisted with the preparation of the documentary display and the slide presentation for the distinguished guest and his entourage. The presentation focused on three formative events in the history of Hoover Institution’s Polish collections. The first was Herbert Hoover’s friendship with the virtuoso pianist and Polish statesman Ignacy Paderewski and the archival legacy of the American Relief Administration’s work in Poland during 1919−21. The second was the 1946 trip to Europe of the Polish Home Army hero Jan Karski as an acquisition agent for the Hoover War Library. The third was the 1991 opening of Hoover’s East European field office in Warsaw, which resulted in a huge increase in the acquisition of publications, political ephemera, and documentation, creating a network of productive contacts continuing to this day. President Komorowski was particularly interested and impressed with selected documents and photographs from the collections acquired in recent decades from such Polish Communist notables as Mieczysław Rakowski, Czeslaw Kiszczak, and Jerzy Urban. Some two dozen posters from the collections of Janusz Cisek and Arthur Waldo were also displayed. The Cisek posters were all from the Polish−Soviet War of 1919−21; those from the Waldo collection were Soviet propaganda posters from the invasion of Poland in September 1939.
The archival presentation marked President Komorowski’s second visit to Stanford. Earlier in the week he had lunch in the Stanford Faculty Club with a select group of Hoover fellows, including Secretary George Shultz. After the lunch President Komorowski delivered a lecture at the Koret-Taube Conference Center titled “Euro-Atlantic Safety from the Viewpoint of Central and Eastern Europe.” Both events were sponsored by Hoover Overseer and Honorary Consul of the Republic of Poland, Thaddeus “Tad” Taube.
Maciej Siekierski Siekierski [at] stanford.edu